Category Archives: Google LatLong Blog

News and notes by the Google Earth and Maps team

Now on iOS: Follow your favorite places on Google Maps

Starting this week, you can stay up to date on your favorite places right from the Google Maps app on iOS. Simply search for a place—whether it’s a new restaurant that just opened up in your neighborhood or that must-try bakery across town—and tap the Follow button. You’ll then be able to see important updates from these places in your For you tab so you can quickly learn about upcoming events, offers and more.  


And now, places and businesses all over the world can see their followers in the Google My Business app, and actively post helpful information for their followers to see. The Follow button starts rolling out on iOS today.

Source: Google LatLong

For the holidays and beyond, your travel planning guide is here

With the holidays approaching, many of us will travel to see family or go on a vacation. Whether you’re heading out of town over the next few weeks or starting to think about a trip in the new year, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite tools to help make travel just a little bit easier.

Check to make sure your flight is on time

Earlier this year, we started sharing flight delay predictions when you search for your flight status and we’re 85% confident that the flight will eventually be delayed. We use historic flight status data combined with machine learning to make these predictions in advance of airlines confirming delays.

To help with the increase in delayed flights this time of year, the Google Assistant now shows you predicted flight delays, too. You can ask things like, “Hey Google, is my flight on time?” or “Hey Google, what’s the status of the American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Denver?”

And to make it easier to stay up-to-date on changes to your flight time, over the next few weeks the Assistant will begin proactively notifying you on your phone if we predict a flight delay and tell you the reason if we know it.

Assistant Flight Status

Get the lay of the land with Maps

Traveling to a new destination over the holidays? Google Maps can help when you’re navigating and discovering new places where you live, but it’s also essential when traveling somewhere unfamiliar. We’ve recently added information that is especially useful for travelers exploring a new city. Swipe up on the Explore tab at the bottom of your screen to get ideas of what to do.

Google Maps Travel

Plan your post-holiday vacation

Whether you’re coming off a holiday high or in need of relaxation after all the hustle and bustle, the beginning of the new year is a prime time to think about your next trip. Earlier this year, we unveiled a tool that shows you historic flight price trends, top cities with hotel deals and popular things to do. Now you’ll also see upcoming holiday and school breaks, so you can plan trips around those dates.

If you’re looking for a destination with a good mix of activities for you and the group you’re traveling with, start by searching for “things to do” on Google. In addition to top attractions and relevant articles, you’ll now also see popular experiences for the top destinations worldwide. For example, if you search for “things to do in Nashville” you’ll see things like sporting events, wine tours and hiking in your results. We’ve also recently redesigned things to do to make it easier to filter for your interests, including a new kid-friendly option on phones. You can also now see things to do on a map.

Things to do in Nashville

When you’re ready to start looking at flight prices, Google Flights helps you understand what’s included in your ticket price. You’ll see if prices include a carry-on bag and can filter to see the prices that include carry-on luggage. Now you can also filter to include checked bag fees for domestic flights in the U.S.

Bags filter

Wherever you’re headed during this festive time of year, enjoy your time off and travel safely.

Source: Google LatLong

Travel that last mile with Google Maps and Lime

You just got off your train and you have seven minutes to get to your first meeting on time—but it’ll take you 15 minutes to walk the rest of the way. You don’t have time to walk, your bus is delayed and the next ridesharing vehicle isn’t set to arrive for another 10 minutes. So close, yet so far. 

Today, we’re teaming up with Lime to help you find a better way to travel these short distances. In 13 cities around the world, you’ll now be able to see nearby Lime scooters, pedal bikes and e-bikes as a transportation option right from Google Maps. Simply navigate to your destination and tap on the transit icon to see your nearby options. If a Lime vehicle is available, you’ll see how long it’ll take to walk to the vehicle, an estimate of how much your ride could cost, and your total journey time and ETA. Tapping on the Lime card will take you right to the Lime app, where you can see the exact location of the vehicle and easily unlock it. If you don’t have the Lime app installed, you’ll be taken to the App or Play store.


Tap on the transit tab to see nearby Lime vehicles. Vehicle options vary by city.

You can now see Lime scooters and bikes on Google Maps on Android and iOS in Auckland, Austin, Baltimore, Brisbane (AU), Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Antonio, San Jose, Scottsdale and Seattle with more cities coming soon—so you can get to that meeting right on Lime.

Source: Google LatLong

The For You tab comes to iOS and over 130 countries on Android

It’s officially the holiday season, which means lots of time spent with friends and family. But all of that together time can sometimes leave you wondering “um...what should we do now?” After all, there are only so many board games you can play before a mini family feud breaks out.

Today, the For You tab is making its way over to Google Maps in over 40 countries on iOS and 130+ new countries on Android—helping you stay up to date on fun, new places so you’ll know exactly where to take the fam this winter. The For You tab is designed to be a constant source of inspiration tailored to your tastes and preferences. Simply follow neighborhoods or places you’re interested in to get updates and recommendations—everything from recent news about an opening or pop up, a new menu item, and even restaurant suggestions based on what you’re likely to enjoy. If you’re making a trip this holiday season, the For You can help you get a jump start on travel planning even before you take off.


The For You tab starts rolling out more widely today. Whether you’re staying local or traveling to a new city, let the For You tab be your guide for your next culinary adventure.

Source: Google LatLong

Find Halloween tricks, treats and other goodies in your neighborhood

You can find pretty much anything on Google Maps—a restaurant that matches your personal preferences, a place to charge your electric vehicle, or your local farmer’s market. But for those instances when Google Maps itself doesn’t have what you need, Google Maps Platform powers millions of third party experiences to help you find what you’re looking for—using the same map you know and love.  

For Halloween, that means Nextdoor’s annual Halloween Treat Map, which allows neighbors to mark their homes with a candy corn icon if they plan to pass out candy, a haunted house icon if they plan to give their neighbors a spooky trick, or a teal pumpkin icon if they plan to pass out non-food treats.


Wondering why the non-food treat option exists? According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), one in 13 children has a food allergy. For children with allergies, even a tiny trace of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction. Unfortunately, many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are some of the most common allergens in children and adults. By providing non-food treats, neighbors can help create a safe, fun alternative for children with food allergies and other conditions for whom candy may present a problem. And the Treat Map helps parents of those children find the homes in their neighborhood to stop by to make sure they have a safe and fun trick-or-treat experience.

Nextdoor is a free and private social network for neighborhoods used in over 210,000 communities across the globe—so chances are you’ll have a Treat Map in your very own neighborhood. To see for yourself, download the Nextdoor app from Google Play or the App Store or find it on the web at

Source: Google LatLong

Bust ghosts in the newest game built with Maps—Ghostbusters World

Earlier this year, we introduced a new way for game developers to create real world games using information about the world from Google Maps. It enables game studios to easily reimagine our world as whatever they can dream up and helps them find the best places in the world for players to fuel up or start a mission.

With Ghostbusters World™, the newest game built with Google Maps, you can grab your virtual proton pack and bust ghosts—all as you explore a game world built on the Google Maps you know and love. Brought to you by Sony Pictures Consumer Products, Ghost Corps, publisher FourThirtyThree Inc. (4:33), and developer Next Age, Ghostbusters World is available for free on Google Play and the App Store now.


As a Ghostbuster, your mission is to “bust” ghosts to keep the world safe and ghost-free (just in time for Halloween, in case you’re superstitious). Lurking among 3D buildings, landmarks and parks, you’ll find hundreds of ghosts from all dimensions of the Ghostbusters franchise like Wes Pinker, Splat and Achira—in addition to fan favorites like Stay Puft and Slimer. Catch them in your proton beam to drain their energy and then capture them in your containment unit. As you advance in the game, you’ll gain access to the latest in spectral neutralization and trapping technology.


Because some ghosts are just too strong to take down on your own (would you want to face Stay Puft solo?), you can team up with nearby Ghostbusters in multiplayer boss raids. Not a team player? No problem. If competition is what you’re after, just build up your ghost team (the ghosts you capture and store in your bank) and enter battles against other Ghostbusters around the world to gain valuable resources needed to make your ghosts stronger.


For those Ghostbusters who delight in the story—not just the action—there’s an all original story mode featuring your favorite classic characters. And if you’re feeling festive (or daring) this Halloween, there’s an AR Mode (built with ARCore on Android) that lets you blur the lines between ghostly fantasy and reality.


If you want to do your part to make sure your local streets are ghost-free this Halloween, try Ghostbusters World. Download it now from Google Play and the App Store.

Source: Google LatLong

Meet the Local Guide who’s the king of onion rings on Google Maps

Scroll through Tyler Groenendal’s profile on Google Maps and you’ll immediately notice one thing: the guy is really, really passionate about onion rings. He’s written 47 detailed reviews about them at places across the U.S. With his “Onion Ring Standard,” Tyler has definitely found a way to make his reviews stand out—and just in time for National Greasy Foods Day!

To celebrate this fun U.S. holiday, we spoke with Tyler to learn more about what it’s like to be an expert onion ring reviewer, his tongue-in-cheek approach to food reviews and his tips on what makes a food review great.

You seem very passionate about onion rings! Can you share more about that?

My interest in onion rings began in college, when I started to notice a correlation. Restaurants that produced good onion rings tended to be good at making other sorts of food. Gradually, this developed into a system of thought, one that I call the “Onion Ring Standard.” The theory goes that onion rings are simple, and easy to cheap out on—either in quality of ingredients or prep time—and still be passable, from the perspective of most people. However, if a restaurant goes to the trouble of hand-making onion rings, in a quality way with quality ingredients, it's indicative as to the effort they put into the rest of the menu.                                                      

What inspired you to start writing reviews on Google Maps?

Google Maps provided the largest immediate platform where my reviews of onion rings could impact and inform the most people.

What information do you think is important to include in your reviews of onion rings?

I review based on four broad categories.

  1. Presentation and appearance — takes into account the plating, the quality of the batter, the color, and so on.

  2. Taste — looks at the overall taste of the onion itself, the breading or batter and any accompanying dipping sauce.

  3. Texture — looks at the overall mouthfeel, the crunchiness of the batter, the mushiness of the onions and so on. This category also accounts for overall structural integrity.

  4. Value—Given the quality and quantity of the onion rings, and the price I paid for them, does it match up to be a good value?

Finally, a picture of the onion rings, as they look when they arrive, plated, at my table, is essential.

B 2

What do you look for in the perfect onion ring?

Generally speaking, though not exclusively, a perfect onion ring will consist of a thickly cut onion (both tall and wide), a consistent beer battering or more traditional breading, with both the onion and batter fried to an optimal texture and color. That is, they aren't overdone, the onions aren't mushy or too raw, the batter is cooked through, but not burned and the parts aren't separable. Separability of parts is the biggest plague in the world of onion rings today.

What do great onion rings tell you about the restaurant you ordered them from?

Essentially, great onion rings tell me that the restaurant puts time and care into even the most mundane dishes. I view onion rings as a proxy for the quality of any given restaurant.

What do you hope people learn or feel when they see your reviews and photos on Google Maps?

First and foremost, I hope that people learn about what (in my opinion, at least) constitutes a good onion ring, and whether or not the onion rings at these particular restaurants correspond to that. The onion ring reviews are written in a unique tone I've developed over the past two years. It's simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and completely serious. The "joke," if there is one, is that I treat this with the utmost care and precision. The hyperbolic nature of the language of the reviews plays into that. Fundamentally, I want people to feel entertained and enlightened at the same time.

What information do you wish more people included in their reviews?

I wish more people included the value. It's not enough for me to just know the food was "good" or "alright.” How did it match up to what you paid for it?


Do you have any tips for writing more helpful reviews?

Just like in business, where the ultimate decider is the consumer, so too with reviews. What does your audience want? This will vary wildly from venue, to type of location and even geographic location. Don't be afraid to be in-depth. I think a lot of people are content to slam a few sentences down and call it a day. If you write something quality, even if it's long, they WILL read it.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Only an appeal to all the restaurants of the world, or at least those that make onion rings. There are two great scourges to this particular cuisine, among many. The first, which I've dubbed "slippage," occurs when a loose piece of onion slides out of the breading or batter, leading to a pile of greasy batter in one hand, and a mushed up onion on my plate. The second, similarly dubbed "shedding," is the reverse, wherein the onion remains solid, but the breading or batter chips off, is rarer, though equally negative.

Beyond that, I think that too many restaurants use dipping sauce as a crutch. If you have sub-par onion rings with a pretty good ranch or zesty sauce, ultimately, the sauce merely serves to mask the (lack of) flavor in the onion rings. In extreme cases, the onion rings serve as little more than a vehicle for a delicious sauce.

For more greasy food inspiration, check out lists from other Local Guides on Google Maps like French Fries in the Twin Cities, Fried Chicken in LA or where to get the best fish fry in Milwaukee.

Source: Google LatLong

Fresh ways to stay up to date on your favorite places and find new ones

Ever wandered by your favorite store just to find out you missed a great sale? Or maybe you’re always the last of your friends to find out about the new hot spots opening in town. With more than 150 million places on Google Maps and millions of people looking for places to go, we made two updates so it’s even easier for you to keep up with the places you care about and find out about places coming soon. 

Those using Google Maps for Android can now follow places right from the app. Rolling out now, just search for that coffee shop you love or that clothing store you’ve been meaning to pop into and tap the “Follow” button. Once you’ve followed places, news from them—like events, offers and other updates—will appear in the For you tab (where available, with more countries coming soon!). 


And for those of you who want to be in the know about all the new places opening around town, you’ll start seeing profiles for places before they even open on Google Maps for Android and mobile search—just look for the opening date in orange.


Places that are opening soon can create a free Business Profile that will appear to people up to 3 months in advance of opening—letting trendsetters know ahead of time to mark their calendars. The feature is rolling out over the next few weeks and places interested in making sure their coming soon locations are shown on Maps and Search can get started with Google My Business here

Source: Google LatLong

A better way to share your ETA with Google Maps

Getting where you need to go is important, but making it to your destination safe and sound is the most important thing of all. Today, Google Maps is improving journey sharing on Android and bringing it to iOS, making it easier to share your ETA with loved ones so you can keep your hands off your phone and your eyes on the road. Here’s how it works:

After you’ve started navigating to a destination, tap on the ˄ button and then on “Share trip progress.” From here you’ll be able to share your live location, route, and ETA with all your favorite contacts. Today’s update also allows for sharing across 3rd party apps like Facebook Messenger, Line, WhatsApp, and more—so you can communicate with friends on the platforms you prefer. Once your journey ends, you’ll automatically stop sharing your location.

journey sharing ios

Improved journey sharing is now available for driving, walking, and cycling navigation on Android and iOS. To get started, make sure to update Google Maps from the Play Store or App Store.

Source: Google LatLong

Get charged up with Google Maps

We built Google Maps to help people get where they need to go no matter what mode of transportation they use. Our newest feature brings helpful information about electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to the Map, so you can be confident that your car will be charged and ready for your ride, wherever you’re headed. Here’s how it works:

A quick search for keywords like “ev charging” or “EV charging stations" will display the nearest supported stations. To help you make a quick decision about which station to use, we’ll show you information about the business where the station is located, the types of ports available, charging speeds, and how many ports there are. You’ll also see information about the station from drivers, including photos, ratings, reviews and questions.

ev charging search

In addition, businesses that have charging stations will now feature a link to information about the chargers.

ev host

Google Maps now supports charging stations around the world, including:

Global: Tesla, Chargepoint

US:SemaConnect, EVgo, Blink

UK:Chargemaster, Pod Point

AU & NZ: Chargefox

The ability to search for electric vehicle charging stations starts rolling out today on Android and iOS, with desktop launching in the coming weeks. To get started on mobile, update your Google Maps app from the App Store or Play Store today.

Source: Google LatLong